Paul Rogers of the 'San Jose Mercury News ("Cash Cows" page 2S, column 2 Nov. 7, 1999)' (Original source: Forest Guardians) performed nine months of research that included studying 26,000 leases. Mr. Rogers’ research revealed that 10% of the total grazing leases are held by lessees that control 65% of the total public land. Furthermore, these lessees include billionaire ranchers and corporations such as Ted Turner, Baron Hilton, Mary Hewlett-Jaffey, JR Simplot, Annheiser-Busch, and the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas. The Public Lands Ranching Organization reports that the federal grazing program operates at a loss, costing taxpayers at least $500,000,000 annually. This figure includes direct program costs and millions of dollars spent on emergency feed, drought and flood relief, and predator control to support or mitigate damage from public lands grazing.
There is a petition going around in support of ending the welfare ranching program. If anybody has it, I would appreciate if you would pass it along to me so I can post it here. Thanks.
Recommended reading: "Welfare Ranching, The Subsidized Destruction of the American West," - http://www.publiclandsranching.org/book.htm